Case Study

Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

A limited budget didn’t stop the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand getting the system they wanted for their specialist library collection. It was smooth sailing from there. Information Resource Specialist Kim Higginson shares their story.

Type  Specialist Library
Sector Not for Profit
Campus Single
Staff 2.3 FTE
Install Hosted
A pohutakawa tree in full bloom against a smooth, calm blue sky

Where there’s a will there’s a way


The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is a charity that works towards creating a society free from discrimination, where all people enjoy positive mental health & wellbeing. They provide free information, training, and advocate for policies and services that support people with experience of mental illness, and also their families/whānau and friends. The Foundation’s Information Resource Specialist Kim Higginson says, “Information plays an important role in their work.”

The Foundation has a physical library to support staff research and projects, and they use their library interloan service to lend to professionals and others. Their collection is primarily focused on best practice in the areas of mental wellbeing, inclusion, diversity and mental health promotion.

The other side to the Foundation’s work is providing a free public information service on all aspects of mental health. They act as navigators, pointing people to, or finding them resources or support. They also produce and publish resources that include a popular current awareness bulletin.

Kim says, “The Foundation has had three library management systems in the sixteen years I’ve been here – Inmagic, Liberty and now Accessit.”

Several factors motivated their recent move to Accessit. The Liberty software they had been using was out of date and it couldn’t be renewed with the budget they had available. As a result, their catalogue was removed from their website. With an internal server on its last legs, they also wanted to move to a cloud hosted option if they could.

“I asked on the NZ-Libs for advice on affordable options and several specialist libraries suggested Accessit, as an affordable system with great customer support. Budget constraints were still an issue for us, but we were so impressed by Accessit that we applied for a grant to enable us to go ahead,” says Kim.

Affordable, easy to use and modern


Kim says they wanted three things, “It had to be affordable, easy to use and it had to look modern.”

They could see the potential for the catalogue to become an information portal, housing their web-based information as well as the physical books in the library collection. “The ability to catalogue not just books, but a whole range of things, was a big draw card.”

They liked that it was intuitive and easy to search. Accessit’s special search features – Visual Search and One Search – really stood out as smart and innovative search tools.

The home dashboard (Web Opac) was also a real highlight. “We could see how we could easily customise and regularly update it, make it welcoming and chatty, and how we could also introduce some user education and support around evaluating information and resources. We loved the Accessit App, where users could view reviews and popular books, and manage their accounts.

“The affordable cost and great customer support sealed the deal,” says Kim.

No such thing as a stupid question


Switching to a new IT system is often a scary proposition. But the Mental Health Foundation found the whole process smooth sailing. “The Accessit staff were so helpful and patient,” says Kim. “We never felt pressured or in any rush to get everything perfect, and after the initial training we knew the support team were there to support us and always happy to help with anything that we needed. Their ‘no question is a stupid question’ approach really helped reduce the stress levels during the transition to Accessit.”